Italian PR firm SEC makes acquisition in France

Italian PR group SEC has continued its expansion programme by acquiring a majority stake in CLAI, the French agency founded by Eric Giuily, former global head of Publicis Consultants.

SEC, which listed on London’s AIM stock market in 2016 and has invested in UK-based Porta Communications and Newington Communications, is set to acquire 50.1 per cent of the business.

It has bought 10 per cent for just over €400,000 initially, along with a further cash payment of €85,000. The remainder will be acquired after a two step earn-out.

CLAI, which describes itself as a "corporate advocacy" agency, has worked with clients including KFC, Mastercard and PayPal, according to its website. The Paris-based consultancy employs around 27 people.

CLAI president Giuily and co-president Elisabeth Coutureau will retain their roles at the agency and will join the SEC Group Management Committee, which comprises MDs of all SEC companies.

Giuily said: "On the eve of our tenth anniversary, the agreement with SEC will enable us to gain access to an international network, whose expansion over the past five years has been remarkable and promising, in order to boost our development and expand the service base to our clients. This is a crucial step for our firm that will provide us long-term sustainability and reach."

SEC has been expanding internationally in recent years with a series of acquisitions in Belgium (2013), Spain (2014), Germany (2015) and Poland (2017), in addition to its UK activities.

Fiorenzo Tagliabue, president de SEC, said: "The agreement with CLAI marks an important step in the development of our network. We operate in all Europe’s key markets - London, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Brussels, Warsaw and now Paris - while continuing our expansion in North and South America, the Middle East and Asia.

"Our growth is based on the integration within our network of independent agencies, managed by their founders in order to best meet the specificities of each market and to keep the entrepreneurial spirit that is key to success in our business. We are confident that CLAI, under the leadership of Eric Giuily, its president, and Elisabeth Coutureau, its co-president, supported by five associates and 22 staff, will quickly make a significant contribution to our network and our continued expansion."

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